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Lebanese activists succeed in first step to repealing controversial 'rape law'

Women's rights activists say that abolishing Article 522 of the Lebanese penal code is only one step toward protecting women from sexual abuse and violence, as more laws need to be amended.

The Lebanese parliament’s Administration and Justice Committee agreed Dec. 7 to abolish Article 522 of the penal code, which allows rapists to avoid prosecution if they marry their victims. The committee is currently discussing a draft law that will be presented later on to parliament, and it is considering amending articles 503-522 about misdemeanors and honor violations, by adding penalties and forcing stricter punishments.

Civil society and feminist organizations have been asking for the abolition of Article 522 of the penal code, nicknamed the “rape law,” for years. The first step taken by Lebanese lawmakers not only invalidates it but also improves the law for women and against rape in general. This was made possible by a very strong advocacy campaign led by the nongovernmental organization ABAAD, which gathered data and statistics on public opinion in Lebanon about that law and talked with lawmakers.

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